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Suffrage, Schooling, and Sorting in the Post-Bellum U.S. South

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  • Suresh Naidu
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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the political and economic effects of the 19th century disenfranchisement of black citizens in the U.S. South. Using adjacent county-pairs that straddle state boundaries, I examine the effect of voting restrictions on political competition, public goods, and factor markets. I find that poll taxes and literacy tests each lowered overall electoral turnout by 8-22% and increased the Democratic vote share in elections by 1-7%. Employing newly collected data on schooling inputs, I show that disenfranchisement reduced the teacher-child ratio in black schools by 10-23%, with no significant effects on white teacher-child ratios. I develop a model of suffrage restriction and redistribution in a 2-factor economy with migration and agricultural production to generate sufficient statistics for welfare analysis of the incidence of black disenfranchisement. Consistent with the model, disenfranchised counties experienced a 3.5% increase in farm values per acre, despite a 4% fall in the black population. The estimated factor market responses suggest that black labor bore a collective loss from disenfranchisement equivalent to at least 15% of annual income, with landowners experiencing a 12% gain.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18129.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18129

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    Cited by:
    1. Margarita Gáfaro & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Patricia Justino, 2014. "Collective Action and Armed Group Presence in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011951, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2012. "De Jure and de Facto Determinants of Power:Evidence from Mississippi," Center for Economic Research (RECent), University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics 084, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
    3. Richard Hornbeck & Suresh Naidu, 2012. "When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development in the American South," NBER Working Papers 18296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Daniel B. Jones & Werner Troesken & Randall Walsh, 2012. "A Poll Tax by any Other Name: The Political Economy of Disenfranchisement," NBER Working Papers 18612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:mod:depeco:0001 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. María Alejandra Arias & Ana María Ibáñez & Andrés Zambrano, 2014. "Agricultural Production Amid Conflict: The Effects of Shocks, Uncertainty, and Governance of Non-State Armed Actors," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011005, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," NBER Working Papers 20004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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